Unintended Consequences

“Sometimes the beauty of life is like a lightning washing everything clear.  And these glimmers of doubt flicker, fade out and disappear.”  Shawn Colvin

Yesterday, I was woken up from a gorgeous nap by The Mister as he sprayed a can of that air used to clean keyboards on my toes.  He thought I was sleeping too long.  (For the record, unless you’re Sleeping Beauty or a narcoleptic, you can never sleep too much, in my opinion.)  When I finally did get up, he jokingly threatened to spray me in the toes again if I went back to sleep.  Just then Rocky the Dog walked in and I told him to spray Rocky’s toes if he wanted to spray anyone’s toes.

So he did.

And Rocky the Dog–the same Rocky the Dog who is in rehab from a pretty major leg surgery–scrambled and slid on the floor as he ran out of the room, frightened to death.

We felt awful.  I tried to gain his confidence back with petting.  The Mister used a rawhide bone as leverage.  It didn’t take long because Rocky, like most dogs, is way too trusting of people.  But it worried me to death that we did something to set back his recovery. And that, my friends, is a scary thought.

As you can imagine, I was already thinking about unintended consequences this morning when I checked my work/school e-mail only to find out a hold had been placed on my account.  It turns out, that by applying for financial aid above and beyond my employee tuition assistance screwed something up and they revoked my tuition assistance.  It only took a couple of calls to get to the bottom of things, but talk about a close call.  Another instance of unintended consequences taking control.

So my mind has been redirected and I’m thinking about all kinds of unintended consequences.  And I began to wonder whether our unintended consequences have more to do with the direction of our future than the intended consequences.

Sure, you go to school, you do your best.  You graduate.  You get a job.  You find someone to settle down with who doesn’t make you want to scratch your eyes out.  You have kids.  Rinse.  Repeat.  But it’s the kinks in that hose of life that really change things.

I didn’t intend on restarting a career only two years after I started my first one.  But here I am, doing just that.  We all know that it wasn’t the intended consequences that got me here.  It was a series of choices with unintended consequences that led me to this place.  And I bet if you think about your own life, you can imagine the unintended consequences that led you to where you are, too.

But that’s the beauty of life.  That’s where we find the most intricate parts of our being…our existence.  It’s not in the grand moments we planned, but in the little ones that change our course in the time it takes to light a match.

Unintended as they may be, consequences happen.  Sometimes they’re good.  Sometimes they’re bad.  Many times they’re in between.  But no matter which direction they pull, they are an intricate part of our being.  Those little unintended consequences that set us on a new course.

At the very least, they teach us not to spray the dog’s toes with canned air again.

10 comments for “Unintended Consequences

  1. msTC
    March 22, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Waking me up because he thinks I'm sleeping too long is something Husband does too. DO. NOT. EVER. WAKE ME. FROM. A. NAP. Not unless you want to lose some teeth or something. And I didn't mean to, but I laughed at Rocky's reaction. Then I felt guilty after I found out how bad it scared him. Poor Rocky. Way to go. Don't feel too bad though — you're going to do all kinds of shit like that to your kids too. :) It's hilarious.

  2. March 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    boy, did you ever hit the nail on the head. my whole adult life has been an endless succession of unintended consequences. i got a job because i needed money. that led me to discover my (completely bizarre) passion for tax law. that sent me to law school. law school, in turn, caused me to totally re-evaluate my life, which forced me to realize that i had settled for too little in my personal life. so i'm now nearly 30, and i'm about to start all over again professionally and personally. scary, but really exciting, too.

  3. justatitch
    March 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I think that it's always the things we never intended to happen that affect us more. Great food for thought.

  4. March 22, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    That spray thing for the keyboard hurts if you do it for too long! And waking up mid-nap is not cool!! Hope Rocky is okay!

  5. March 22, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    With you 100%. Unintended consequences make the world go ’round. This doesn’t mean I forgive them for surprising/frustrating/challenging me. But they’re at least starting to make a little sense.

  6. March 22, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    we were just talking about this in my sociology class today. weird how that stuff works.

  7. March 22, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Ugh, I HATE it when someone wakes me up because they think I am “sleeping too much”. My mom used to do that, and I thought that now I'm all grown up and such that I could sleep whenever I freaking want to, but Scott does it all the time…makes me mad just thinking about it. I MARRIED MY MOTHER.

  8. Her
    March 25, 2010 at 5:11 am

    First, poor pup!

    Second, I wish I could be better at predicting consequences. I hated home ownership…who knew?!

    • March 25, 2010 at 5:13 pm

      i have mixed feelings about home ownership. part of me likes it, part of me hates it.

Don't just sit there...say something.

%d bloggers like this: